Racial discrimination against and by Immobile Temporary Migrants

Two gloved hands hold a world globe which has a disposable face mask stretched across it
(Pexels: Anna Shvets)

Yu Tao, University of Western Australia

Racial discrimination – actual and perceived – is a profound factor that hampers cross-cultural communications and mutual understanding between new migrants and existing residents in host countries. The racial discrimination targeted at international students and other temporary visa holders in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic is regularly at the centre of media coverage and political tensions, surfacing many competing narratives awaiting empirical investigation. Additionally, relatively little is known about racial discrimination perpetrated by international students. This project uses exploratory focus group workshops and in-depth comparative interviews to document the type, frequency, and severity of radical discrimination towards Chinese international students in Western Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also analyses whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted radical discrimination towards Chinese international students by comparing their pre- and post-COVID experiences and perceptions. Furthermore, it compares and analyses the perceived racial discrimination between onshore and offshore Chinese international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, it aims to reveal whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped radical discrimination by Chinese international students. Focusing on Western Australia due to the restrictions of travelling conditions and financial resources, this project also serves as a pilot scheme that generates testable hypotheses for subsequent cross-state or cross-national studies.

Dr Yu Tao is a senior lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Western Australia. He is a 2021 recipient of the Freilich Project ECR Small Grant


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